Walter Gropius Lecture: Iñaki Ábalos, “Architecture for the Search for Knowledge”

“Architecture for the Search for Knowledge” is the title of an aphorism written by Friedrich Nietzsche and included in his book The Gay Science (1882). Since the time Iñaki Ábalos was a student at the ETSAM in Madrid, while he has practiced as an architect, educator, and essayist, he has regarded this aphorism as a mantra. He has quoted it in nearly all his books, used it in many of his projects, and thought of it as a mandate during the years of his service as chair of the Department of Architecture at the GSD, from 2013 to 2016.

One day, and probably soon, we need some recognition of what above all is lacking in our big cities; quiet and wide, expansive places for reflection. Places with high, glazed cloisters for rainy or sunny weather where no street-vendor’s cry or horse-drawn traffic noise can reach, and where good manners would prohibit even priests from praying aloud -buildings and sites that would altogether give expression to the sublimity of thoughtfulness and of stepping aside (….) We wish to see ourselves translated into stone and plants, we want to take walks in ourselves when we stroll around these buildings and gardens. (From Nietzsche’s The Gay Science)

The Walter Gropius Lecture is a lecture on architecture, given by the departing chair of the Department of Architecture.

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